To all club volleyball fans, the upcoming weekend is arguably the best of the year.
Not in the meaningful way of winning a gold medal at AAUs or Junior Nationals, but certainly in terms of action. Everyone is playing volleyball over President’s Day weekend!
Over the next few days, PrepVolleyball.com is going to be previewing in more detail some of the biggest events taking place Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
No tournament has grown so fast, large and prestigious as the Triple Crown Sports Pre-Season NIT in Salt Lake City. As you’ll see from all the PVB nationally-ranked clubs competing in the age divisions we cover, the event’s become the Who’s Who of tournaments. And though winning the Triple Crown isn’t the same as winning the gold in Orlando or Anaheim or Detroit because it’s not a true national championship, the results the past two seasons in Salt Lake City have had a direct impact on PVB naming at least two national champions.
In 2016, Munciana beat out Arizona Storm for the 15 Open title, as Muncie went on to capture gold at AAUs and Storm gold at JN’s. It was Muncie beating Storm three times in Salt Lake City, including the championship match, that placed Muncie at No. 1 in our final rankings. Then, last season Muncie beat out KC Power for the No. 1 spot in 18s by virtue of the its strength of schedule, heavily boosted by playing the Triple Crown tourney.
Who knows if the NIT will factor in once more come July when PVB is inputting the results to determine its No. 1 team in the land.
One major difference at Triple Crown this go around is the fields have vastly expanded thanks to the use of more of the Convention Center. The great news is the Day 1 power pools that have come to define the event aren’t going anywhere.
We are still going to see the top clubs in the country going toe-to-toe Saturday. However, with the field now expanding to 88 teams, those clubs outside the 24-team power pools will have a chance to play themselves into the upper 32-team bracket for Sunday and Monday.
This year, eight (8) remaining clubs will earn the right to make the upper-echelon bracket. In helping with some of the pool placements, there is a non-existent line between say teams Nos. 21-24 that made power pools and the next handful of ones that did not. It’s just the way it is.
No question some clubs are going to carry legitimate gripes about not making the Top 24 and being force to play in to the Top 32 bracket. And if you are a club that is left outside the power pools and you play yourself in, then your gripe was truly legitimate. But the opposite holds true, where if you make too big of stink not making power pools and then fail to qualify for the Top 32 it’s not going to reflect well.
Even coming off fun events like JVA Rock ‘N Rumble and Central Zone Invitational, Triple Crown is the first weekend where we get to see the crossover among many of the nation’s best.
A few other happenings this upcoming weekend to look forward to:
- Florida National 18s Qualifier (1 bid)
- Mizuno Capitol Hill Classic
- Nike President’s Day Classic
- President’s Day Challenge
- Omaha President’s Day Classic